Dhaka [Bangladesh], December 18 (ANI): Indian hockey team came up with a clinical performance against arch-rival Pakistan to register a resounding 3-1 win in the league stage match of the Asian Champions Trophy 2021 in Dhaka. India's star performer was drag-flicker Harmanpreet Singh who converted both the penalty corners that came his way and ended up scoring a brace for India.
"I think it is not about only Pakistan. What we are thinking whenever we get into the pitch we are playing against any team we feel the same. Even Pakistan are a very good team. They also got a lot of opportunities but are always happy to win against Pakistan. " said Harmanpreet Singh after the match.
India did make a lot of chances in the first two quarters but could only score one goal. Coming into the third and fourth quarter, India worked on their flaws and scored two more goals to end up scoring 3 goals in the match.
"We got a lot of opportunities in the first quarter. So, I think we have to be more focused on that. Whenever we get a chance we have to finish that. It will be easier for further quarters. " explained Harmanpreet Singh.
India have rested a lot of experienced players from the squad that played in Tokyo Olympics like PR Sreejesh, Mandeep Singh, Surender Kumar, Simranjeet Singh, Amit Rohidas, Vivek Sagar Prasad, Nilakanta Sharma etc while some players from that squad have taken retirement from international hockey like Rupinder Pal Singh and Birendra Lakra.
All these rests and retirements have come as opportunities for these youngsters like Suraj Karkera, Krishan Pathak, Gurinder Singh, Jarmanpreet Singh, Nilam Sanjeep Xess, Dipsan Tirkey and Mandeep Mor. The inexperience of these youngsters was visible on the field as they got a lot of cards reducing the team to 10 men on the pitch.
"We have a lot of new players. We have not played for the last few months. This is our first tournament after Olympics. There are some new because of that. If you talk about performance, then we can improve on a lot of things. We can avoid cards and improve on that. For the future match, I think we can improve these kinds of things. We don't get any easy card and all whenever we get a chance we finish properly. " told Harmanpreet Singh after the match.
The three-time champions India are unbeaten in this tournament so far and are also on top of the points table with 7 points in their kitty from two wins and one draw. Harmanpreet credits the entire team and youngsters for India's unbeaten run in the ongoing tournament.
"It is all because of our hard work and also luck. The boys are doing really good and some of the new boys are doing really good. It is all about our hard work and whatever practice we are doing in Bangalore. " said Harmanpreet.
India's entry to the semi-final is a certainty now and if they iron out their flaws, then they will be able to create strong bench strength for the future as well as these youngsters have shown that they have a lot of talent and potential. (ANI)